Fort Davis

Little is know today of the earliest inhabitants of the area now occupied by Fort Davis, rock shelters, caves and associated rock art are all that remain to tell us about these people and who they were. Later, the Lipan and Mescalero Apaches made camps in the area and established a rancheria along Limpia creek. They were attracted by ample water supplies, the fertile soil along Limpia creek and rich hunting grounds found in the mountains surrounding Fort Davis, the region was also frequented by the Kiowas and the Comanches as well.

On the return leg of an expidition to Santa Fe from the west coast country of Mexico, Antonio de Espejo became the first European to visit the area that would become Fort Davis on August 13, 1583, his chronicler, Diego Perez de Luxan, has given us a detailed account of the journey that leaves no doubt of the route of the expedition. There would be little else written about the region until the 1820's with the arrival of American trappers and explorers.

With the discovery of gold in California and the increase of settlements in the region, the Butterfield Overland Stage Line established a route through the Fort Davis region linking San Antonio to El Paso and to points west. To protect the settlements and stage route the U.S. Army established Fort Davis in 1854, briefly abandoned during the Civil War the fort was reoccupied in 1867 and became the home base for one of two all black cavalry units organized in 1866. The Ninth U.S. Cavalry quickly became know as "Buffalo Soldiers" after the name given to the black troopers by Native Americans. Fort Davis was closed in 1891 as the threat from the Mescaleros and bandits receeded.

After the closing of the fort, Fort Davis became a center for ranching but the railroads bypassed the town drawing settlement away from Fort Davis towards Alpine and Marfa. By the turn of the century, drawn by the region's majestic scenery and a desire to escape the heat and humidity of the rest of Texas, Fort Davis began to develope as a tourist destination. Today tourism and ranching remain the mainstays of the local economy. Fort Davis is the "Highest town in Texas" at 5050' and offers the visitor a rich and varied place to visit. The old fort has been restored and since 1961 has been a National Historic Site, other attractions include the McDonald Observatory, the Davis Mountains State Park, the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, the Prude Guest Ranch, and the Davis Mountains Education Center.

Eastern view from Delores Mountain
First Presbyterian Church
Garden at the Hotel Limpia

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